Ten minutes ago, on my walk across the sand, I stood still watching the boats across the way sail out becoming dots on the horizon. I imagined great voyagers bringing back chests of gold and spices, silks and salts. I saw them swallowed up by sea and storm, men pulling ropes in sheer panic. The roar of wind in their heads, salt stinging their eyes, thinking of the women back home with bellies full of life looking out to the horizon for their husbands return. I watched them sail away, tight lipped and dry eyed, a lone women against the landscape of sea and sand and tropical skyscrapers.
I walked off knowing that those ships were nothing like the things I saw. They are heavy cruise liners stalked with lovers and pink champagne. I think of An Affair to Remember, and a fling of mine with my own Nicky Ferrante, though I was no Terry McKay. I remember he had slick black hair and soft brown eyes and after we made love he'd bite my chin and fall asleep with his head upon my breasts. His name was Robert, I called him Robbie and he called me Mel, short for Melancholia –a name that I went by at the time.
Right now, I pass the plastic topless women with skin like new tan leather and breasts that are never affected by gravity. Men watch them wide eyed and excited from the sea side bar. They want to touch them and taste them and touch themselves to the sight of their breasts, obscenely gleaming with tanning oil and sweat. I pallor in comparison with these almond eyed, large breasted, apple bottomed, sleek, curvaceous women. I am five feet six inches tall with indecisive auburn hair and a small nose. My breasts are small, round and humble, my legs are too thin, as is the rest of me. My eyes, big and round like two awkward walnuts, take up most of my face; my lips are neither thin nor plump. I am attractive but not desirable, not like these women. They reek of sex and desirability.
I imagine myself, holding her, a woman I watch asleep floating atop the sand. I see my lips at her throat; my fingers wet with her, in between her perfect thighs, my other hand fitting the shape of her round breast. She is glamorous, like a starlet walking down Hollywood boulevard with a tiny hand bag and an even tinier dog.
But she is not my want, nor are the men that gawk slack jawed at her resting body. I look out, back at the dots sailing into the horizon, wanting more than can be offered to a woman like me. My dreams consist of a little girl with curled yellow-auburn hair and freckles on her shoulders, green eyes and chubby hands and feet. A black angora named Bast, nothing but grace and elegance and narcissm, rubbing up against my calf every time she'd be jonesing for some catnip. We would live in a small two bedroom apartment, consisting of a kitchen dining room combination stocked with health food and organic, non-fat, cookies and cream, frozen yogurt. I drive my little child to school and spend the day, selling herbs and potions to hopeless, over weight, thirty-five year old women who have never been touched and teenaged girls wearing too much eyeliner, fishnet and vinyl, tattooed and pierced and Wiccan.
But that is only my practical dream, the dream that I can achieve with my own striving mind and callused hands. I really dream of adventure. To be the lone woman on the ships that were dots on the horizon more than ten minutes ago. I dream of fairytales and of places faraway. Places with grass like emeralds and rain like fresh, crystal tears. Here there is only pollution. Environmentalists protest and politicians whose hands never let go the monster grip they have on their wallets. Here is oil and poverty and plastic. I want more.
Driving home I watch the clouds turn colors as the sun hides beneath the sea. I see a man in a wheel chair, with vibrant blue eyes and white hair. He is missing teeth and the ones that are left are yellow with his lack of personal hygiene. His smell lingers in my car after I place three dollars into his king sized McDonalds cup. His voice was hoarse with hope as he held his head up high coughing out a, "God bless you," as clearly as his throat would allow.
I pull into the garage of my apartment building and make some coffee.